Thursday 8 November 2012

Read Me On Amazon!

Finished By Hand (an Xcite Books collection of five erotic m/m stories) was published three days ago on Amazon and my short story, Two in a Bed, is one of those stories. I nearly screamed with delight when I saw it!

This is the first time anything I have written has been available on Amazon and it’s amazingly exciting. So many different people can have access to it and read it and, hopefully, enjoy it, and to the vast majority of them I’ll only be a name on a page. It’ll be my writing that they will see and I love that thought. I also love that people think my writing is good enough to be published in this collection.

My story, Two in a Bed, is about two old school friends re-connecting, years later, and finding they have a shared attraction, which they had back at school, and finally acting on it. It’s about acting on those on a long ago and secret teenage crush. Often in fiction, this would be a tragedy, the object of the character’s crush rejecting him, but here it’s a little more positive and with a lot more sex (!!).

This is also an erotic story and so there is a lot of sex in it, and that was the hardest part (NO pun intended) to write. I find sex scenes so difficult to write because it’s so easy to get them wrong. Write it in porn-style, all in-and-out and unrealistic activity, and it sounds shallow and does nothing with the characters. Over write it, all hearts and flower and euphemisms for body parts, and it’s laughable (They have awards for bad sex writing for a reason!). I try to concentrate on the characters and what they want or expect from sex, what is going through their mind during this sex, and I try to keep the sex within a realistic story (Most porn certainly seems to ignore this!). I hope it works.

Anyway, if you want you can judge for yourself. Finished By Hand can be downloaded here. If you hurry you can download it for free, for the next couple of days, otherwise you will have to the full price of £1.28…

Happy reading.


Sunday 17 June 2012

Frankenstein on Screen

Four days ago we went to see the National Theatre’s production of Frankenstein, staring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, but we didn’t see it at the theatre.

Earlier this year the National Theatre broadcast a live transition of Frankenstein into different cinemas around the country. Four days ago they re-broadcast it and we wert to see it, at the Vue cinema Dagenham.

The production was amazing and full of the theatre magic the National Theatre does so well. The play was written and performed from the point of view of The Creature, rather than Frankenstein, and opened with the painful and disorientating “birth” of The Creature. It portrayed him as someone driven to revenge and murder by the complete rejection he suffers from society just because of his looks. Whereas it portrayed Frankenstein as the arrogant scientist who creates life and then does not know how to handle that responsibility, he’d driven The Creature away as a “mistake” after its birth because it was so deformed, and there he hoped it had died. When The Creature returned to his life, Frankenstein can’t cope with the reasonability of what he’d done.

Benedict Cumberbatch played The Creature as someone trying to regain speech and movement after a brain injury. Jonny Lee Miller played Frankenstein as a strutting and arrogant man laid low by what he has done.

The production was magical and so tightly held our attention, yet it never stopped to preach a “message” at us, instead it concentrated on its dark and gothic story, letting the morality flow out of the story. It also stuck very closely to the plot of Mary Shelley’s book. This wasn’t a simple horror story, but a dark fable about the dangers of science.

The strangest thing, though, was our setting. The Vue Dagenham is a very suburban cinema, mostly showing Hollywood Blockbusters. For that screening of Frankenstein there was only Martin and I in the whole auditorium, which seated about two hundred people. I’ve never been the only person in a cinema before, it felt also decadent, but it also felt a little sad (We were the only people in the area taking the time to see this great production). What we didn’t feel was alone. Frankenstein had been filmed before a sell out audience and we could hear the audience’s reaction to the play. With surround sound it actually felt as if the cinema had a full audience, people laughed at the humour and gasped at the horror.

You can find out more about the National Theatre Live (live broadcasts of their productions) at their website.


Anthropomorphosis Me

We give human traits and personalities to animals and even inanimate objects, its part of our human make up. Claiming our car has human emotions when the damn thing won’t start, or claiming that our dog can understand every word we say, not just “sit” and “food”. I’m certainly not above it, my imagination is very good at doing this.

Last week, we drove into a car park to be greeted by a flock of crows occupying one corner of it. There were about ten to fifteen of them and they were just standing there, not moving and not trying to fly away. There were no cars parked in that area either.

The crows had such a threatening and malevolent presence to them, like a gang of evil thugs guarding their territory. They’d have cut your throat for just looking at them the wrong way. They made me think of East End gangsters, nasty and not to be crossed.

Those crows might have been the most gentle and friendly of birds but their jet black feathers, all the extra and uniform shade of black, their strutting and arrogance stance, simply marked them out as malevolent.

Stood there, in the corner of that car park, the shear presence of those crows pressed themselves into my memory. What were they guarding? Whose evil thugs were they? Who had sent them there and why?

Welcome to my world, were the simplest of sights can set my imagination off into some strange and fanciful places.


Sunday 20 May 2012

And Her Lips Never Moved

Last night we saw Nina Conti, at Menier’s Chocolate Factory, in her new show, Dolly Mixture. She’s a ventriloquist (She's also Tom Conti's daughter) but her show was much more adult entertainment than children’s party.

Her show consisted of six different puppets, all of them very different. There was the tactless monkey, Monk, who has made Nina Conti’s names, plus five new characters; her eight year old daughter, her reformed rescue dog, a randy polish builder, her Irish Aunt who has reached the age where she no longer gives a f*ck and one of her old professors who has lived so long that he doesn’t want to have to carry on living any longer. The humor here was very adult, plenty of jokes about sex and even death, and not once did she drink a glass of water while the puppet chatted on.

This was certainly a “work in process” show, some of the characters/puppets didn’t work as well as others and some of the humor didn’t as flow as smoothly in some places, but still it was far better than a lot of comedy I’ve been exposed to; it made me laugh. Nina Conti certainly has an eye and an ear for characters, but unusual characters. Her puppets aren’t the standard stereotypes beloved of traditional ventriloquists, they were far too off-the-wall.

As a child I’d never warmed to ventriloquists, they were always very clever but the puppets never seemed to come alive with their characters. This was the nineteen-seventies and we still had the tradition of Music Hall and Working Men’s clubs. Ventriloquists fell into the traditional double-act, a straight-man who feed the feed-lines to the comic, the ventriloquist being the straight-guy and the doll was the comic. Their routines were that of line joke, line joke, line joke; their routines weren’t the character driven stories that was the main stay of Nina Conti’s show.

To Nina Conti her puppets were more than just props on her knee, she interacted with them. She made eye contact with them, reacted to them, she even laughed at their comments, but she was far more than the straight-man feeding lines for the jokes. At times it felt as if she didn’t know what the puppet was going to say, even though she’d obviously worked closely on her show. She has taken character driven comedy and applied it to the ventriloquist act, giving us something fresh and interesting.

I have always enjoyed character driven comedy over stand-up joke telling, the jokes coming out of a character’s reaction to a situation, rather than the smart put-downs of a comic. Nina Conti certainly performs the comedy I enjoy and she has breathed life into the stale old ventriloquist’s act.

Watch some videos of Nina Conti’s act here, on YouTube.


Wednesday 2 May 2012

Something Important

“I hope my Equal Marriage film wakes us all up to support changing the law.” Mike Buonaiuto, director of the above film.

All my life I’ve just wanted equality. Not special treatment, not favoritism, not any “gay agenda”; I’ve just wanted the same rights as everyone else.

When I was in my twenties I dreamed of equality, it seemed so far away. The government, of the day, called same-sex relationships “pretend family relationships”, the Prime Minister said no one had a “right” to be gay and they passed a law making it illegal to “promote” homosexuality. All this cheered on, with disguising levels of homophobia, by the newspapers, the church and the establishment.
Today things have changed, but not everything is equal, by any means.

The government has introduced plans for Equal Civil Marriage. We have Civil Partnerships but they didn’t give all the protections that Civil Marriage does. This isn’t about special “Gay Marriage” or about “watering down marriage”, and certainly isn’t an attack on any religion; it’s about equality pour and simple. But already the bigots and homophobes are circling and making these claims, and worse, and they are making their voices heard, even though they only speak for a minority.

Please help and make your voice heard.

There’s an Official Home Office survey on the introduction of equal civil marriage, which can be filled out online here. I’ve done so, because I know the bigots are already filling it in.

There’s also the Coalition for Equal Marriage, and their website can be found here. They have a petition you can sign and lots more resources.

The bigots are already out there with their lies and doctored statists, please don’t let them win.


Friday 27 April 2012

Over and Done

Yesterday, my short story Over in Sixty Seconds or So was published on the GFF website, read it here.

It’s another one of those sideways looks at life I write about, so often. This time it’s about a man suffering from premature ejaculation, hence its title. I know it’s not the most upbeat of subjects but it’s certainly one typical of me. I do have a desire to understand these subjects and then write about them in a real-world way. In this story I look at why it happened and how it made the guy in the story feel.

There is some colourful language in it, it’s a very adult story, but don’t let that put you off.

Happy reading.